We have the makings of an environmental disaster in northern Pennsylvania at the moment. According to local Pennsylvania television station WNEP, a natural-gas well blew out in the middle of the night while crews were engaged in “fracking” activities:
Bradford County’s director of public safety said a Chesapeake well went out of control late Tuesday night. That means the well blew near the surface, spilling thousands and thousands of gallons of frack fluid over containment walls, through fields, personal property and farms, even where cattle continue to graze.
DEP is taking ground water and stream samples to determine the extent of the spill.
Officials said fluids from the well have, in fact, contaminated Towanda Creek which feeds into the Susquehanna River.
No injuries have been reported, but officials have evacuated the surrounding area as a precaution. A “major operation” is under way to kill the well and stop the flow, which, as of 1:50 p.m. ET, was still uncontrolled.
DeSmogBlog, which flagged the news, observed the irony that this spill occurs on the BP Gulf spill’s first anniversary. As with the Gulf, do we really think this sort of thing will never happen again in Pennsylvania? We are, after all, talking about a state where the governor has put industry firmly in charge of regulating itself. For all the big fans of fracking out there, is putting our agricultural lands and water supply at risk really the best path to a low-carbon future? I’m going to answer “no” on that one.